tomato and olive bread
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Andrew Whitley’s ‘Bread Matters’ has some incredibly simple ideas for your daily loaf, if you’re inclined to bake your own. I’ve used that book so much that it’s quite battered now, stained with what-nots, greasy in places so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get me a new copy for Christmas.
One of those simple recipes is the two day bread. You make the sponge with very little yeast and let it stand for up to 48 hours – it will undoubtedly pick up some wild yeast from the air and so turn in part a sourdough. This long proving gives bread better flavour, there’s no question about it. Just think and compare supermarket bread which they make in, like, five minutes including the baking.
The dough can be left well alone, just shaped into a loaf without any additions but it’s also very well suited to become a flavoured loaf.
I have simplified the instructions a little here, using sun-dried tomato paste instead of making my own mix and I added olives instead of Andrew's suggestion of onions. The possibilities are endless: sunflower seeds soaked in tamari soya sauce are one idea, I can well imagine making a topping of onions, mushrooms or even cheese or bacon. It’s just such decent bread – with or without fancy toppings.
tomato and olive breadServings: 1 small loafTime: 3 hours plus overnight sponge
- For the sponge:
- 3g fresh yeast or ½ tsp fast action
- 150g water at room temperature
- 75g strong white flour or Italian type 0
- 75g wholemeal flour
- For the dough:
- 150g strong white flour
- 75g wholemeal flour
- 4g fine salt
- 15g olive oil
- 105g warm water
- For the filling:
- 3 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste mixed with 1 tbsp honey
- 10-12 black pitted olives, chopped
- 20g sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
1. Prepare the sponge 16-48 hours ahead of making the bread: mix the yeast with water and stir into the flours to a soft dough. Cover and leave in ambient temperature.
2. Mix the dough with all the ingredients including the sponge which will have risen appreciably and started to collapse. Knead the dough by hand or in a standing mixer with the dough hook attachment until smooth, stretchy and not sticking to your hands or bounding off the sides of the bowl in a mixer. Cover and leave somewhere warm for an hour.
3. Butter a small loaf tin.
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll or stretch out to a rectangle about the width of a loaf tin and twice as long. Spread the tomato paste and honey mix all over the surface, dot the sun-dried tomatoes and olives evenly on the paste and roll up as tightly as you can into a log. The rolling up will make it stretch to longer than the width of the loaf tin, so curl the ends in opposite directions so that it forms an ‘S’.
5. Drop into the buttered tin, cover and leave in a warm place for another hour. By then it should have risen to the rim of the tin.
6. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5. Bake the loaf for 35-40 minutes, turn out on a rack and cool completely before slicing.